• In fair use of copyrighted work, maker’s permission need not be asked

    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    Good day! I am a teacher in a Quezon City exclusive school. For a class activity, I want to show a movie of Jose Rizal in my class. It’s my own copy and I bought it in a video store. Somebody warned me that if it is not in the school archives, I might be violating the law and that I need to contact the producers or distributor of the movie before I show it in class. Is this true? What should I do? Thank you.
    Teacher Dan

    Dear Teacher Dan,
    Section 171.6 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code defines the public showing of an audiovisual work (video) as the showing of its images in sequence and the making of the sounds accompanying it audible at a place or at places where persons outside the normal circle of a family and that family’s closest social acquaintances are or can be present. A movie is considered as an audiovisual work or cinematographic work produced by a process analogous to cinematography or any process for making audio-visual recordings.

    Under our copyright laws, the owner of a copyrighted work such as a movie or a reproduction of a movie has economic rights over the movie. The owners of these movies are the producer, author of the scenario, composer of the music, the film director, and author of the work so adapted. It is the producer who has the right to collect distribution and exhibition fees on the movie, unless there is an agreement to the contrary (Sec. 178.5, R.A. 8293).

    As to your intention to show Jose Rizal exclusively for your class, it may be considered as Fair Use of a Copyrighted Work as defined in Section 185 of R.A. 8293, which states that, “The fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching including multiple copies for classroom use, scholarship, research, and similar purposes is not an infringement of copyright. xxx” The said section also enumerates certain factors to consider in determining whether the said copyrighted work may be considered as fair use, which are:

    (a) “the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit education purposes;

    (b) “the nature of the copyrighted work;

    (c) “the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;

    (d) “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”

    It appears in your letter that you only want to show the movie, Jose
    Rizal for educational purposes and have no desire to profit from it.

    Since this is the case, your activity may be considered as fair use of a copyrighted work. You need not seek the permission of the producers or directors of the movie, as long as you give credit to the makers of the movie, do not declare it as your own work, and show the movie within the limitations provided under fair use.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.


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    1 Comment

    1. Brian Galagnara on

      As a member of a community that produces such work, I only request that those who do show these movies/documentaries give due credit to those who produced it by showing the piece until the end of the credits, out of courtesy to those who labored on the piece.